Just after Zoe was diagnosed with a brain tumor six years ago, her mom, Jessica, took the family out for pancakes with sprinkles. “This was going to be the first day of a new journey, so we were going to celebrate it,” explained Jessica. Now a young woman herself, Zoe, 21, realizes the strength that took. In an open letter to her mom, Zoe reaches across the years to provide comfort to her mom, and a little advice.
Even though you had an idea that something wasn’t right, nothing could have prepared you for the news you got today. I know you must have been scared for me. You must have felt terrible having to tell me. We went out for pancakes and sprinkles to cheer us all up, but I know you must have been scared deep down. If I could take your fear away, I would. Looking back now at the day I was diagnosed I have some advice that I hope helps:
You got this. Some days it won’t be a pancake and sprinkle day. Some days it will be hard, and you might feel like breaking down and crying, but just remember that we can do it together. You have people who love you, who will help get you through. Take it one day at a time, and don’t forget to enjoy life. You are strong, and can get through any obstacle or hard time.
In fact, you’re stronger than you know. If you break down and cry, get back up. I know you will because no matter how hard things get, you are stronger than you think. When days are extra tough, don’t forget to tell yourself you are even tougher. You can overcome any sadness or obstacle.
You’re smarter than you know. You knew something was up in the beginning, and without you helping to connect the dots we might not have found out when we did. We could have found out years later. So, always know that because of you, we were lucky to catch it early enough. You are smart, and knew just what to do, and how to make it okay. You knew all the right steps to take. This experience will be what motivates you to be an even better nurse than you were before – it will push you toward a new career. There are great things in store for both of us. Believe it.
It gets better. Things won’t always be as hard as they are now. It’s okay that everything isn’t what you want it to be right now because, sooner or later, you will be okay. It might be hard to imagine things will change, but I promise they will. Push past the hard times and the difficult moments. It will feel worse before it finally gets better.
I’m okay. I know you’re worried about me, and you want to take it all from me. Don’t worry, I’m okay. I am strong, and I can make it through the hardest of things. I have you to help me, and I won’t stop persevering. When you look back at these moments, I know you will see all of my strength. You’ll see that, all along, I was okay. Life has its ups and downs, but I know that when I look back, too, I will see that this brain tumor, and how we handled it, is what shaped me into the person I will become.
I love you with all my heart.